I get a lot of questions from nurse practitioners facing a job transition. One piece of advice they often seek relates to following up after an interview. If you are applying to nurse practitioner jobs, naturally you’re eagerly awaiting a post-interview decision. But, following up to soon or too often may be misinterpreted as being pushy, pesky, or downright annoying.
On the other hand, you want the employer to know you’re interested in the opportunity and ready to move forward. So, how do you handle to delicate balance of post-interview follow up?
There are a few different aspects of following up to consider once you interview for a nurse practitioner job. These include timing, interval, and modality. Based on my conversations with nurse practitioners and employers across the country, here’s some advice on non-annoying post-interview contact.
The most helpful move to make is to get an idea for your prospective employer’s timeline during the interview. Consider asking something along the lines of “Can you share your timeline for making a final decision?”, or “What would be a good timeframe for me to follow up with you?”. This way, your interviewer guides you as to the next steps in the process. Then, it’s up to you to abide by this timeline.
How Long to Wait for Follow Up?
Immediately after the interview, you should follow up with a ‘Thank You’ note. There’s some debate over an email vs. snail mail note, but whichever you choose, let your interviewer know you appreciate his or her time (here are some tips for drafting your note). Don’t forget to send a note to each individual you had contact with during the interview process. A prompt ‘Thank You’ helps drive home your enthusiasm for the opportunity.
If you neglected to ask for a timeline for next steps, the exact process for following up can be a bit foggy. Some larger organizations allow several weeks to months to select a candidate. Other organizations act quickly. Consider sending a professional, concise email to follow up in 1-2 weeks if you haven’t heard back. You may consider a phone call instead of an email if this has been your primary mode of communication with the employer.
If your interviewer gave a timeline for when to expect to hear something and hasn’t followed through, reach out one or two days after you expected to hear something back.
How Often Should You Follow Up?
You can think of interviewing for a job a little bit like dating. Just like coming on too strong may make you shy away from a romantic prospect, it makes you seem desperate and therefore less desirable to employers as well.
Once you have followed up initially in that 1-2 week window after a job interview, one additional follow up another week or two later is acceptable. If you receive nothing but radio silence after your second follow-up, chances are that the company has gone a different direction. This doesn’t necessarily speak poorly of you as a nurse practitioner, it simply means there was someone else out there who was a better match. Who knows, the company may not have even hired anyone at all?
Avoid following up more than twice if you don’t hear anything back. The company has your information, has received your messages, and will get back to you if they’re interested in next steps. Now, it’s time to focus your energy on pursuing the next opportunity.
What’s the Best Follow Up Method?
In general, your initial follow up should be in the same mode as your primary communication with the employer. If you check in using your interviewer’s preferred communication platform, you’re more likely to hear back. If you are concerned that your initial follow up may have gone unnoticed, you can attempt a different mode of communication. If you emailed the first time, pick up the phone for your second (and final attempt).
Keep your follow up professional and gracious. Chances are your interviewer is busy, and isn’t intentionally neglecting you. Wording your correspondence too forcefully may work against you in the decision making process.
What if You Don’t Get the Job?
If the employer selects another nurse practitioner for the job, make sure to thank them for their time and consideration regardless. You have still made an impression. And, you never know when an opportunity will present itself in the future!
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